A fellow Homemade Mother recently emailed me this picture:

She took it while visiting her local children’s hospital.


Not one item in this machine will nourish the body, mind or spirit of an otherwise beleaguered parent looking to pass a few moments while waiting for her child to undergo another test or procedure. The machine is loaded with salty, fatty, highly-processed snacks.  Not a single healthy choice, even though the side of the machine softly encourages the buyer to “CHOOSE WELL. EAT WELL. FEEL GREAT.

What drives me most crazy about packaged snacks found in vending machines is that they serve no purpose.  These foods will not fill an empty tummy, fuel a sapped body or encourage health and wellness.  I really think vending machines only help to quiet boredom.  The time it takes to ease-in the wrinkly dollar…the few seconds required choose the snack…the minute or two eaten up as you eat the sugary/salty/crunchy snack…those are minutes you don’t have to spend staring at the wall.

In particular, I have no tolerance for vending machines in schools.  Kids buy on impulse – they see a salty bag of chips or a sugary chocolate bar, they buy it.  Kids don’t think about the health implications that go along with consuming processed food.  And, they certainly don’t realize that every dollar they feed into that hungry machine buys them nothing more than…nothing.

So, next time you are bored and perhaps a little hungry, I encourage you to “CHOOSE WELL. EAT WELL. FEEL GREAT.”  If you find yourself at a place where the only “choice” is a vending machine, take a walk to a local sandwich shop or order in a healthy meal from a nearby restaurant.  Or, plan ahead and bring along some fresh fruit.  When my son was hospitalized for five days just two weeks after he was born, I relied on family to bring me healthy foods.  My sister Caitie made a delicious quinoa and black bean bowl, and my grandfather brought in a turkey sandwich on at least one occasion.  I was – and still am! – so grateful I had family to help me “CHOOSE WELL. EAT WELL. FEEL GREAT.” during a time of absolute exhaustion and fear.

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3 Comments for this entry

  1. Carla says:

    Most hospitals have these options in the vending areas, but they also have cafeterias or sandwich stations too. If you cant locate, ask the staff … They’ll be happy to direct you to where the cafeteria is.

  2. You bring up valid points. Vending machines are there for convenience, but it doesn’t mean they can’t offer healthier snacks.

  3. Mandie says:

    I am a nurse in a well known children’s hospital on the east coast and have lamented the problem of vending machines for the several years that I have been here. If I don’t have time to get food together before I come to work or am hungry overnight, those are my only options. I worked at a hospital in the Chicago area prior to that and they had a refrigerated vending machine that held veggie sticks and dip, fresh fruit, oatmeal, sandwiches, etc. Now my “healthy” options are baked chips, pretzels, diet soda or low fat ice cream. Seriously?!?!? Way to fuel a tired body huh?

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